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About Recode Chatham 



The purpose of the project is to modernize and unify the County’s existing development regulations. The intent is also to develop a new, user-friendly Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that can be easily understood by residents, elected officials, appointed boards, and the development community and that provides clear development standards and a predictable development review process.


The UDO will also support the goals of the Plan Chatham Comprehensive Plan, such as to encourage development and redevelopment of designated centers, support sound economic development, support preservation of agricultural areas, integrate multimodal transportation where it is appropriate, and provide a platform to support sustainable infrastructure investment and affordable housing.




What is a Unified Development Ordinance?

A Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is the adopted law of the County that regulates land use, growth and development, and environmental protection. It divides the County into different zoning districts. The zoning district regulations generally govern the types of uses and the location and size of development in each district. A Unified Development Ordinance also includes provisions that establish the procedures for how development proposals are reviewed and approved or denied, as well as standards that govern the form and quality of development such as standards for parking, landscaping, building location, and form. The UDO will incorporate multiple existing county ordinances relating to development regulation that are currently maintained as separate documents, such as the County’s zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations, and watershed ordinance.

Why rewrite the County's existing Zoning and Subdivision Regulations?

This project is an opportunity to implement the guidance of the Plan Chatham Comprehensive Plan, as well as make technical edits, update provisions to reflect best practices of modern planning and zoning techniques, and ensure the County's land use regulations are organized in a user-friendly way. The purpose of the rewrite project is to address all these issues, resulting in 21st century regulations that are easier to use, streamlined, and tailored according to the County’s future vision, development, and environmental protection goals.

How long will the process take to complete?

A UDO update is a significant undertaking, and is projected to take 24 months to complete before the start of adoption hearings.

Who is managing the project?

The project is being conducted under the direction of the County’s Planning Department, with assistance from consultants.

Where can I get copies of the documents?

The Documents & Work Products page of this website will be updated regularly to include links to all documents produced as part of this effort, and supporting information.

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